Every time I come home to Utah it feels like I am flying into a dream of the hometown I once knew. New buildings spring up out of empty lots, and many beloved businesses close their doors forever. The bones of the city resemble my childhood but the flesh is stripped and colored in unfamiliar ways. The physicality is not the only thing that changes. My loved ones ebb and flow reflecting time’s weathering. They do not freeze like characters from a novel. Things about people I always took for granted to be constant evolve. Every time I come home I search for any scrap of familiarity and cling to it, willing it to remain even after a fly back to school.
When I come home I feel exactly the same. It is almost like I am a time traveler but the world around me shifts forward as I remain, never changing. Although I feel the same, the people I embrace feel the need to point out the differences in me. Whether it be the color of my hair or a major shift in my personal life, I find myself being interrogated. Their well-meant questioning causes me to mall over decisions I previously thought sound. Change is present in the physical places I love, the people I thought I knew, and even in myself. Change promotes fear and longing but also inquiry. The change we see in ourselves, reflected in the eyes of those who know us best, can alter the view we have of ourselves.
Sometimes others can make us feel guilty about the changes we go through. The people who love us most can see our evolution as the death of the parts of ourselves that they thought they knew. People have a nasty habit of taking the things we are afraid of and projecting those fears onto others. Do yourself a favor and when you get home, embrace the change you see. Know that nothing is permanent and people are noticing changes in you as well.
When I came home from college this week I felt like I needed to apologize for the changes I had gone through. I had just ended a six year long relationship. Due to this dramatic change, I felt like there were a lot of bridges I needed to mind with my family, his family, and all our mutual friends. Although I will continue to mind these bridges I realize now that this is not entirely my responsibility. I made the changes I had to make and the people who were not directly involved in the situation should not need a formal apology. Sometimes change is necessary and when it is, it is important to remember that changing does not make you a bad person. It only makes you human.